Biomineralization and Biomimicry of Tooth Enamel
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This critical review summarizes the basics of biomineralization of tooth enamel and scrutinizes attempts to replicate this intricate biological process in vitro. Special emphasis is given to the author's results, obtained during studies on the formation of enamel by biomimetic means. Fundamental insights found regarding the latter process are presented. Some paradigmatically accepted aspects of the mechanism of amelogenesis, that is, biomineralization of enamel, are challenged. Amelogenin, the major protein of the developing enamel matrix, is thus claimed to be a mineralization inductor, rather than an inhibitor, presumably acting as a channel between the ionic growth units in the protein matrix and the uniaxially growing crystals of apatite. The role of water and other minor constituents of enamel is questioned, as well as the biologically active morphology of amelogenin aggregates and the reliability of recombinant proteins in studying amelogenesis in vitro. Appropriate crystal growth rates, the Ostwald-Lussac law, Tomes' process and mineralization of dentin present other aspects of amelogenesis discussed here. It is also claimed that three fundamental facets of amelogenesis ought to be coordinated in parallel for successful biomimetic replication of the given process in the laboratory: protein assembly, protoeolytic digestion and crystal growth.
amelogenesis, biomimicry, biomineralization, enamel, self-assembly
Oral Biology and Oral Pathology | Other Dentistry
Uskoković V. Biomineralization and biomimicry of tooth enamel. In: Vallittu P., ed. Non-Metallic Biomaterials for Tooth Repair and Replacement. Cambridge, UK: Woodhead Publishing; 2013:20 – 44.